Thursday, October 16, 2014


Meet Christine O'Connell

URI Theatre | By Lauren Mazzola

Christine O'Connell
Photo by Randy Osga
It has been a very exciting and busy week for URI Senior Christine O’Connell, who is playing one of the lead roles in our production of Seminar, which opened Thursday Oct. 9. Despite O’Connell’s busy schedule she was able to spend some time talking about her experiences with the URI Theatre Department and her time on the set of our current production.

Seminar, written by Playwright and television writer Theresa Rebeck, is an edgy, sexy, and contemporary production that explores the world of art and commerce in present day New York City. The play encompasses four postgraduates who hire a well-known writing guru to fulfill their aspirations of becoming successful writers. Throughout the intermission-less act, the four aspiring writers receive much more than they bargained for as the writing guru and his powerful persona unexpectedly throws their well being into disarray.

O’Connell has taken on the role of Kate, the character who is always trying to prove herself and her abilities as a writer. Desperately wanting to become a fiction writer in a world where fiction is still very much a man’s world, Kate finds herself struggling with feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and jealousy as she tries to overcome a set of unique obstacles that lie in the way of her success.

When describing her character, O’Connell explained, “even though Kate is self-confident, she struggles with her self-doubt and often responds by lashing out at others or trying to make light of her situation. She also struggles with being labeled a feminist and faces the same challenges as all female artists, but she meets them head on. I respect her a lot for that.”

The current production is the first time O’Connell played an artist and a professional writer, and she was able to express to us how happy and grateful she was to receive the role, “I was happy and certainly grateful. It's so hard in this business, there's so much uncertainty and it’s obviously nice to be given an opportunity to work. There’s also a great deal of responsibility that comes with that: namely don’t take it for granted for a second.”

Knowing she wanted to participate in theatre and other outside curriculums, O’Connell was easily able to choose to attend URI, “I chose URI because of its reputation for professionalism, which was really what I wanted in an undergraduate program. I also wanted the freedom to study other things. As demanding as our curriculum is, it’s not so rigid that it limits our other educational pursuits.”

When asked about how she felt about her educational experience with the URI Theatre Department, O’Connell used a quote by Isaac Newton to genuinely explain how she felt, "If I have seen further it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."

“The opportunity to work alongside and learn from professional artists is invaluable. Our professors in the theatre department are entertainers. Our tenured professors, supplemented by the smartest, most creative guest artists and lecturers make it impossible to leave everyday uninspired.”

Proud of the education and training she has received throughout the four years at URI, O’Connell believes that she has been trained exceptionally well. Whether or not she becomes a professional actor or works within the theatre, she knows that she will graduate with the confidence to succeed at whatever her aspirations may be in the future.

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